Garam masala has been part of Indian cuisine for centuries, also crossing over into neighbouring countries.

Literally, the name means ‘hot spice’ – although this does not necessarily refer to chilli heat but to the fact that the cooking process involves toasting the spices.

It is also said that the effect of eating garam masala is to gently increase body temperature, creating a pleasant warm glow.  Created through a blend of up to ten spices, a complex balance of flavours and aromas is essential to good garam masala and indeed to Indian cookery as a whole.

As with many subcontinental foods, garam masala can be bought ready-made from a shop but the home-made version is far superior.  The spices must be dry toasted before being ground to achieve the perfect flavour.  Many different variations exist, with versions found all over southeast Asia.  However, it is most predominant in Northern India and Punjabi cuisine.

Why not try making your own garam masala?

You will need:

Simply roast your spices until they become aromatic before grinding them into a fine powder.  Be sure to sieve afterwards to produce a smooth texture.  If you keep your garam masala in an airtight container, you can count on enjoying it for months to come.

How to use garam masala
Add garam masala ten minutes before the end of cooking for a delicious spicy flavour.  Garam masala is appropriate for any dish that needs a warming kick of spices, but we’ve researched a couple of recipes that you may find too tantalizing to resist…

Coriander
The basics